New Vets Aide, Ft. Lee Changes, Jobs for Vets, & More

As summer nears its end, I hope that you and your family – children, grandchildren, maybe great-grandchildren – have made many meaningful memories. Be sure to keep our service men and women in your thoughts and prayers, especially those currently serving abroad that were unable to spend the summer with their families.

In this update, I’d like to introduce you to my new Veteran Affairs Aide, share with you two efforts to help employ our veterans, provide an update on the WWI/WWII Commemoration Commission, and fill you in on a few changes at Fort Lee.

Welcome Rick Oertel

I’m pleased to welcome Richard C. “Rick” Oertel to my office as my new Veteran Affairs Aide. Rick is a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel (and Air Force brat) who served as a Field Artillery and Corps of Engineers Officer prior to closing out his military career at Fort Lee as an Operations Research Systems Analyst and Military Deputy to the Director of the TRADOC Analysis Center-Fort Lee. Following his military service, Rick worked in technical positions both in the public and private sectors before retiring again in 2009.

Since retirement Rick has been active as a volunteer in a number of veteran service organizations and the community. Rick has been the Adjutant of Colonial Heights American Legion Post 284 since 2005 and is a Past Post and District Commander. He has also served as The American Legion Department of Virginia’s Treasurer.

He is currently the Legislative Chairman for the Department of Virginia and is the outgoing Legislative Officer of the Commonwealth’s Joint Leadership Council. In addition to The American Legion Rick is a member of a number of other military organizations to include the 40&8, the DAV, MOAA, and the West Point Society of Richmond.

Veterans Recruiting Fair

The Virginia Transition Assistance Program, part of the Department of Veteran Services, will host a veterans recruiting fair at John Tyler Community College in Chester on Thursday, August 25th. This is not a typical job fair; participants must have a resume to register. This full-day event starts at 8:30 AM and lasts until 3:30 PM.

Click here to view a flier for the event. Click here to register.

Fort Lee Gate Changes

Starting August 6th, weekend visitors to Fort Lee will not be able to access the base via the Sisisky Boulevard Gate. Additionally, the Mahone Avenue Gate on U.S. Route 460 will be closed on weekends and federal holidays. Instead, visitors will need to use the Lee Avenue Gate located on Route 36. The Sisisky Boulevard Gate will continue to operate 24/7 for those with proper military identification and will have visitor access during weekdays.

Click here for more information regarding access to Fort Lee.

Medical Jobs for Veterans

11,000 service members with medic and corpsman experience leave the military and are unable to find work in the civilian job market. Why? They don’t possess the necessary licenses needed to work in the civilian medical field. Considering it takes two years for veterans to obtain the necessary licenses, many medics and corpsmen chose to move into other fields of work.

I was proud to support HB 825, introduced by Delegate Chris Stolle of Virginia Beach that creates a pilot program to help veterans with medical experience obtain work with a supervising physician while taking classes to obtain necessary credentials and license.

To read more about the program, click here.

WWI/WWII Commission Update

I’m pleased to chair the WWI/WWII Commemoration Commission. This commission was established by the General Assembly to recognize the 100th anniversary of World War I and the 75th anniversary of World War II.

unveiling commission logo
Members of the Commission unveil signs that will be placed in Welcome Centers across Virginia. (L-R) Del. John O’Bannon, Clay Mountcastle, Del. Marcus Simon, BG Jack Mountcastle (USA, Ret.), Sen. Frank Ruff, Del. Kirk Cox, Sen. Bryce Reeves, and Del. Rich Anderson.

The Commission will sponsor several events to commemorate the two World Wars including a tribute for the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, a mobile museum, and a teacher’s symposium in summer 2017. To read more about these events and ways you can get involved, click here.

New Gym at Fort Lee

Fort Lee has just opened a new, state-of-the-art gym on base that will focus on functional fitness. The 40,000 square feet facility joins two existing fitness facilities. The new gym is open from 5AM-1PM and 4PM-8PM Monday thru Friday and is accessible for service members and authorized personnel.

Ribbon cutting for the new gym facility at Fort Lee.

To read more about this new facility, click here.

In closing, you can contact me at my district office by emailing or by calling 804-526-5135, by US mail – PO Box 1205, Colonial Heights, VA 23834 – or by stopping by my Colonial Heights office at 250B East Ellerslie Avenue. I appreciate your views on legislation that will help me do a better job for the people I represent.

Please visit my Facebook page and my Twitter page. These pages, along with my website, have information/links to the 2016 General Assembly Session to include my 44 pieces of legislation, visitors’ photos, my legislative survey, videos of floor remarks, and related topics.

Please forward this Update to your fellow veteran friends and neighbors.